Tens of thousands gathered in Hamburg on Friday to participate in a demonstration against the far right, and organizers said the protest ended early because the gathering of people led to safety concerns.
BERLIN — Tens of thousands of people gathered Friday in Hamburg for a demonstration against the far right, and organizers said the protest ended early because the crowding of people led to safety concerns.
The event, which was held in Germany's second largest city, appears to be the largest so far in a series of protests that have increased over the past week. These events come in the wake of a report that extremists recently met to discuss the deportation of millions of immigrants, including some with German citizenship.
Correctiv media last week reported on the alleged far-right meeting in November, which it said was attended by figures from the extremist identity movement and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, or AfD. A prominent member of the identity movement, Austrian citizen Martin Sellner, presented his vision of “bringing back immigration” to deportations.
Some demonstrations in cities across Germany, including one in Cologne on Tuesday, have attracted a much larger number of participants than initially expected.
In Hamburg, police said that about 50,000 people gathered in a lakeside park on Friday afternoon, while organizers estimated the number at 80,000 people, and said that many people were unable to gather in the place, according to the German News Agency (dB). a).
“We have to end the demonstration early,” said Kazem Abasi, of the group Unternehmer ohne Grenzen (Entrepreneurs Without Borders), which was one of the organisers, citing safety concerns and saying the fire service was unable to get through the crowd.
He added, “The message to the AfD and its right-wing networks is: We are the majority and we are strong because we are united and determined not to allow our country and our democracy to be destroyed for the second time after 1945.” The defeat of Nazi Germany, Hamburg Mayor Peter Tschencher told the crowd.
The AfD sought to distance itself from the extremist meeting, saying it had no organizational or financial ties to the event, that it was not responsible for what was discussed there, and that members who attended did so in a purely personal capacity. However, one AfD leader broke with an advisor who was there, while denouncing the report itself.
National opinion polls currently show that the AfD is in second place behind the main center-right opposition bloc and ahead of the parties participating in the unpopular government.
More demonstrations against the far right are scheduled to be held in German cities over the weekend.
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